LINCOLN — A record 95-yard touchdown pass from Fred Duda to Freeman White was the master strike Saturday as Nebraska handled Colorado its first defeat, 38 to 13, before a jubilant homecoming throng of 54,110.
The otherwise routine triumph set up the long-anticipated showdown this week at Missouri, which zipped past Iowa State, 23 to 7.
Nebraska and Missouri share the Big Eight Conference lead with 3-0 marks.
White, the towering senior end from Detroit, squeezed 139 yards out of four receptions to become the most productive receiver in Cornhusker history.
In six games this season, he has shagged 22 passes for 388 yards, erasing the former school record of 21-339 set by Frank Simon of Burchard in 1951.
White’s big day against the Buffs also put him one ahead of Simon’s three-year record of 40 catches.
Nebraska gave Missouri scouts cause for head-scratching as it turned in its lowest ground total of the year — 149 yards — while amassing 223 aerial yards, its fattest overhead total of the autumn.
In addition to Duda’s long-range strike to White, there was a 14-yard scoring stab by the same duo.
Colorado had allowed no previous opponent more than a single touchdown. But the Huskers collected four in about 23½ minutes in the first half and added a fifth during the customary “late show” performance by eager subs in the final quarter.
The margin was greater than anticipated and the final result wholly satisfactory to Big Red backers, but this was not the sharp, efficient “good game” which Nebraska has shown it is capable of playing.
Nebraska’s attack was marred by three interceptions, one lost fumble and untimely penalties.
However, the explanation may be found in the comment of Husker Linebacker Lynn Senkbeil, who declare:
“Colorado hit hard than any club we’ve played. Every time I looked up, I saw three guys coming.”
Regarding the C.U. defense, Duda stated:
“Colorado was a tough ball club. They had the best defense we’ve faced all year.”
Coupled with the quarterback’s observation was the fact that the N.U. ground brigade was paced by Frank Solich’s 11 carries for 37 yards.
That’s the smallest leading total for Nebraska since Willie Ross garnered 32 yards on nine trips during the 1963 victory over Kansas.
But nobody slowed down Larry Wachholtz.
The Cornhusker safety made one interception, returned three punts a total of 111 yards, kicked five extra points and one field goal in another all-Big Eight performance.
Less than three minutes had elapsed when the industrious Wachholtz made Nebraska 3 to 0 on the board with a 35-yard field goal, snapping Colorado’s pesky three year string of scoring first against the Scarlet.
Nebraska shortly forced a punt, which Wachholtz lugged 60 yards on a trademarked in-and-out breakaway. He prospered from Bill Johnson’s crackling block at the N.U. 43 before being forced out by Dick Anderson at the Colorado 12.
After Ron Kirkland picked up a first down at the one, Harry Wilson dived over the left side for a touchdown.
Colorado got a big lift from a 25-yard pass, Bernie McCall to George Lewark, while rebounding with a 43-yard push to the Husker 22. That was the stall point, but Frank Rogers put the Buffs in the running with a 34-yard field goal.
Those three points ended Nebraska’s shut-out string at three games and 13 quarters.
Later in the first quarter, Nebraska turned adversity into its biggest play of the year. Anderson had put the Huskers in a hole with a long punt that wobbled to a halt on the three-yard line.
Wilson was held to half a yard. Solich nudged out to the five before Colorado called time, hoping to make Nebraska punt against the wind before time ran out.
It was third and eight when play resumed. Duda got off a high archer. With Bob Lee matching him stride for stride, White took the ball over his shoulder on the N.U. 35, then made his irresistible shift to overdrive.
Sprinter Charlie Greer joined Lee in the chase, but when the six-foot-five White stretches his legs with touchdown incentive, he becomes extremely unavailable.
As the roar of the crowd swelled, he swept into the end zone to complete the record 95-yard play. Previous high on the N.U. air was a 92-yard touchdown, Bob Churchich to White, in last year’s Kansas game.
The quarter ended with Nebraska on top, 17 to 3, and that was enough for victory.
Rogers helped Colorado with a 36-yard field goal early in the second period, but an interception by Ted Vactor enabled N.U. to quickly offset that afront.
Starting from the Colorado 17, Duda called the scoring shot five plays later. He kept on a swing around his right end: had clear sailing after Mr. Wilson decked the nearest challenger.
Next time Nebraska got the ball, it drove home with the back-breaker.
Officially, the distance was 67 yards. But adding a clipping penalty and a rush that lost a yard, the regulars actually covered 83.
Wilson and Solich combined for 16 on the ground. The remainder came on Duda passes to Kirkland, Jeter and White.
With a first down on Colorado’s 14, Duda fired to White for a touchdown which was so neatly executed it looked like child’s play.
The graceful White loped between Lee and Hale Irwin, took the ball expertly and breezed across. Wachholtz’s trim job enabled the Huskers to take their halftime rest with the peace of mind of a 31-to-6 advantage.
Nebraska didn’t touch Colorado territory in a ho-hum third quarter.
With fans yelling, “Yoo hoo, Choo Choo,” for Charlie Winters and other fourth-quarter stalwarts, Coach Bob Devaney turned loose his reserves.
Their first effort fizzled with a field-goal attempt from the 37. It was far short. But in a matter of seconds, Linebacker Barry Alvarez gave the shock troops another chance by recovering a fumble on the Colorado 20.
Churchich and Ben Gregory were the ringleaders, with Churchich lunging over center for the final yard and N.U.’s final touchdown.
The motto of the state of Colorado is “Nil Sine Numine,” meaning, “Nothing Without Providence.”
The latter was supplied by an errant Churchich pass which Dennis Drummond returned 16 yards to the Husker 20.
The touchdown came from the seven, with Estes Banks carrying out a super fake into the middle while Larry Plantz, the invaders’ best runner of the day, darted around his right end for an easy end zone visit.
There were further tugs-of-war, but the prime issue was settled and the only important question remaining was whether Missouri had won. Missouri did win.
|Yards per carry||3.8||2.7|
Nebraska is 49-20 all-time against Colorado.
|Air Force||Sept. 25|
|Iowa State||Oct. 2|
|Kansas State||Oct. 16|
|Oklahoma State||Nov. 13|
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